Why Dogs Bark & How to Stop Excessive Barking: Part I

Getting to the Root of the Problem

By Ashley Watson

barking-dogAfter a recent experience with my neighbors’ noisy dog, I became curious about what options are out there for dog owners who are looking for ways to curb excessive barking. I realized that some dog owners are not aware that their dogs are causing a disturbance, especially if it happens when the owners aren’t home. My neighbors, for instance, had no idea that their dog was barking non-stop while they were at work.

Once they found out, they were very apologetic and solved the problem by hiring someone to walk the dog a few times a day. Getting a dog walker is not the only option, but choosing what works for your dog really depends on why the dog is barking. If your dog’s barking has become a problem, this two-part blog post will help you find the right solution by exploring some of the reasons that your dog is barking too much.

Why is My Dog Barking?

barking-dog-2Dogs bark for many reasons—from feeling threatened to wanting more attention. It is just one of the many ways they express their needs. Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing when the barking becomes too much and taking the appropriate action. But the first step is to determine why the dog is barking.

According to the Humane Society, there are a few main reasons that dogs bark:

  • To get your attention: Many dogs will bark if their owner is not giving them enough attention. If this is the case with your dog, make sure you are giving your dog attention without sending the message that you are rewarding the bad behavior.
  • Because they are left alone: Like humans, dogs are social animals, and when they are left alone for too long, they may begin to feel anxious or bored.
  • Out of fear: Usually you can tell when a dog is barking out of fear. This may be caused from loud noises, a perceived intruder, other dogs, or anything that might be upsetting to your dog.
  • To protect: This is related to barking out of fear. Whether it’s the delivery person or a guest, your dog perceives any unfamiliar person or animal as a threat.
  • Because they are excited: Many dogs bark when they are excited or simply being playful.
  • Because of a health problem: Check with your Vet if you think your dog’s excessive barking is due to health issues. Some dogs bark due to a hearing or cognitive condition.

Be sure to check out next week’s post on ways to keep your dog from barking. We’ll discuss solutions for each these potential reasons that dogs bark.